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Since 1941 Jeep has been producing top quality 4-wheel drive vehicles to satisfy the needs of every rugged individualist. With the introduction of several models and trim packages over the past several decades, it should come as no surprise that Jeep has taken their iconic brand to the next level. In 2021 Jeep released the first ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with both front and rear locking differentials, the Jeep Wrangler 4XE.
As with most things new and innovative, the critics were out to see if this new electric Jeep could stand up to the task of keeping up with the gas-powered Jeep Wrangler. Some of the questions that are being asked are, “Can the Jeep Wrangler 4XE live up to the Jeep brand?”, and “How long can I drive before I need to charge the batteries?”. I went a step further and asked the question, “Can a Jeep Wrangler 4XE tow a travel trailer?”. In this post I want to dig a little deeper into the Jeep Wrangler 4XE to see what it’s all about and answer those questions along the way. Let’s get to it, shall we?
A Brief History Of Jeep
According to an article by Autoweek, the Willys-Overland Motor Company received the first contract to produce the Willys MB for the American military in 1941. Jeep became synonymous during WWII for being rugged, tough, and lightweight. This vehicle could go anywhere, handle any terrain, and if it happened to get stuck, the soldiers could easily lift it free.
The first prototype military Jeep was developed by American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland. A Detroit native, Karl Probst, designed the prototype in just 18 hours exceeding the Army’s expectations.
Since its inception, Jeep has managed to become a leader in producing reliable, rugged, all-terrain vehicles, and they continue to lead the pack.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Jeep, I encourage you to read the article by Autoweek.
Introducing The Jeep Wrangler 4XE
As I mentioned above, Jeep rolled out the Wrangler 4XE early in 2021 making it the first plug-in hybrid vehicle with locking front and rear differentials. This electric Jeep comes equipped with a plug-in hybrid 2.0L turbo charged engine paired with a 17kWh battery bank. Combined, the Jeep 4XE can produce a mind-blowing 375 hp and 470-pound feet of torque. That’s quite impressive for an electric Jeep. Not only can it keep up with the gas-powered Jeep Wrangler, but it can also reach 60 mph in only 6 seconds using an eight-speed automatic transmission. I doubt you will be getting that kind of performance while towing a travel trailer, but it is nice to have when you need it.
Every Jeep Wrangler 4XE is delivered with a Level l charging system. There is also an available Level ll system as well. What’s the difference? The Level l is a 120V charging system that recharges the batteries in 12 hours, as compared to the Level ll which is a 240V system and reduces charging time to just 2 hours. The Jeep Wrangler 4XE also has regenerative braking technology which charges the battery while braking or decelerating.
You will, however, be losing a little bit of room in the back seat as compared to the gas-powered model. As a matter of fact, the rear seating area of the electric Jeep is one cubic foot smaller because the battery bank is stored underneath the rear seats.
Leading The Charge
Not only did the Jeep Wrangler 4XE win the 2021 Green SUV of The Year from Green Car Journal, but they also won the Hybrid Technology Solution of the Year at the AutoTech Breakthrough Awards. Jeep is also teaming up with Electrify America to install Jeep 4XE solar charging stations near Jeep Badge of Honor Trailheads across America.
The most popular of these destinations is Moab in Utah, which is also a very popular RV camping destination.
Can The Jeep Wrangler 4XE Tow A Travel Trailer?
The new Jeep Wrangler 4XE has a dry weight towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. Dry weight refers to the weight of a camper before anything is loaded into it. When you begin adding water to your fresh water holding tank, dishes in the cupboard, and any other camping gear you might need, the weight can quickly add up. So, although it can tow a travel trailer or lightweight camper, it will not be able to handle a conventional travel trailer. But hey, who ever said Jeeps and their owners were conventional?
There are, however, several off-road campers that would fall into the category of “under 3,500 pounds”. As a matter of fact, I recently published an article on lightweight campers under 3,000 pounds as well as some awesome off-road campers that this electric Jeep would have no problem towing.
Just a few examples of these would be:
- NuCamp TAB S – 1,893 lbs. Dry Weight
- Forest River NOBO NB10.5 – 1,570 lbs. Dry Weight
- Black Series Sargent Off-Road Camper – 1,777 lbs. Dry Weight
- Vorsheer XER Off-Road Camper – 1,300 lbs. Dry Weight
Like I mentioned above, these are just a few examples of travel trailers and campers that the Jeep Wrangler 4XE would have no issues towing to your favorite camping destination. You might also consider looking into pop-up campers. The soft canvas walls keep these campers lightweight and some even have bathrooms.
Towing Accessories To Consider
A couple of towing accessories you might consider when towing a camper or travel trailer, not just with the electric Jeep 4XE or the gas-powered Jeep wrangler, are a weight distribution hitch and a trailer brake controller.
A weight distribution hitch improves the safety and overall towing experience by distributing the weight aver the axles of the camper. Not only does this type of hitch give you more stability, but it also levels out your tow vehicle.
A trailer brake controller does exactly what the name implies, it controls the electric trailer brakes. This is accomplished by regulating the electrical current form the tow vehicle to the brakes on the travel trailer. Without this controller, the tow vehicle carries the task of stopping not only itself, but the added weight of the trailer as well. I might also add that in some states it is illegal to tow over a certain weight without one.
Can You Flat Tow An Electric Jeep Wrangler?
One of the great things about Jeeps are their versatility and light weight. Many RVers flat tow their Jeep Wranglers, or “toad”, behind a motorhome. But what about the electric version of the Jeep Wrangler? Can it be flat towed? Believe it or not, there are several questions in Jeep forums about this topic. Even more unbelievable, is there aren’t very many answers to that question.
It would seem that since the gas-powered Jeep Wrangler is capable of being flat-towed, that the 4XE could be flat-towed as well. As I conducted my research, I found that it can be flat-towed, but not the same as the gas-powered Jeep wrangler.
Shane H. of eTrailer.com answered this question the best. According to him, you can use the Jeep Wrangler 4XE for your toad vehicle. But there are a few different wiring harnesses required since the 4XE is electric and doesn’t have an alternator. You can check out his complete answer here.
As with any vehicle, make sure you follow the manufacturers guidelines on towing a travel trailer or flat-towing your Jeep Wrangler behind a motorhome.
The Future Of Jeep
Jeep continues to forge ahead and create new paths for others to follow, much like their dedicated owners. As a result of this never-ending commitment to provide reliable, rugged, quality transportation for every off-road enthusiast, new models are coming out every year. In fact, in the Spring of 2022 Jeep will be releasing the all-new Grand Wagoneer. These new models are nothing like the wood paneled Wagoneers of days past.
Conclusion Of Jeep Wrangler 4XE
With advances in technology, there is nothing that isn’t possible. And the Jeep Wrangler 4XE proves that point. Jeep lovers will be pleased with this electric version of the Wrangler. The one thing you will not be pleased with is the price tag. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a new 4XE Wrangler will set you back around $51,000 to start with. That is of course before any tax credits you might receive.
What are your thoughts on the Jeep Wrangler 4XE? Please leave a comment in the section below and let us know.
And if you see us in our Jeep, don’t forget to wave…